Torture: The Abuse Of Violence Essay

985 words - 4 pages

The legality of using torture as punishment has been historically controversial. Today, some people see torture as an efficient form of punishment; they believe it is especially necessary in the treatment of terrorist captives or prisoners for the purpose of extracting information. Some writers such as Michael Levin even intentionally make up fake scenarios to exaggerate the advantages of torture, claiming that it is danger free, low cost and useful for obtaining fast response (407-409). However, after carefully thinking through the arguments used by many torture supporters, one will conclude that the arguments of torture supporters are fallacious. Writers who support torture show less logic, but rather indignation to viciousness. The use of torture as a form of punishment should be prohibited because contrary to the arguments of torture supporters, it does not serve a purpose, is against international law, and will only perpetuate hatred and retaliation.Many people insist torture is efficient in some extremely distinct situations, of which the good and bad are as obvious as a Hollywood movie describes, the occurrence of this kind of absolute terrorism event such as September 11th tragedy is rare. Moreover, the information provided by a tortured victim is unpredictable and unreliable. Assume there is a case that perfectly matches the conditions a torture supporter desires. One of the terrorists has been seized and tortured. Under torture, the terrorist gave the some information. Very likely, the information that he had provided was useless, for he knew little about the whole terrorist operation and simply obeyed orders to carry out acts of terrorism. Moreover, a victim will confess to anything under torture. The Syrian-Canadian Maher Arar claims that he decided to confess to anything Syrian government want in order to stop the torture (Arar); similarly, William Sampson admitted to crimes he did not commit when he was tortured by the Saudi prison guards (Parkinson and Lamourie). The testimonies of these two Canadians show that the application of torture is not meaningful because the information obtained from the torture victim is untrue.The Convention against Torture defines torture as an unlawful act physically and mentally inflicted on a person for the purpose of obtaining information through a confession (Seidman 881-919). The term "unlawful" is especially stressed, and the law mentioned here is the Geneva Convention of 1949, which is applied internationally. The Geneva Convention talks about policies regarding treatment of detainees and prisoners ("Resolution" 26); Article 17 of the Geneva Concentration specifically states that a person who refuses to answer questions may not be physically or mentally threatened, insulted, or made to suffer any other forms of coercions ("Resolution" 26). Torture is thus a violation of international law, and if we are prepared to torture, then we are prepared to commit any crime (Seidman 881-919) because if we...

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